Third Annual African Night

Andrea Gladney, Commentary Editor

On Friday March 23, Southwest Minnesota State University celebrated its third annual African Night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the upper level of the student center. The event, which was sponsored by the SMSU Lions Club, MSUSA and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, was free and open to the public.
“Our main goal was to educate people on our culture and reinforce diversity,” said ISO events coordinator, Magali Baleng.
The event featured poetry by Ibe Kaba from Minneapolis; the Titambe West African Cultural Dance Group from Minneapolis; black storytellers Vusu Zulu and  Nothando Zulu; along with speaker Sarah Drake. There were also several musical performers.
Guests weren’t just there to watch, they also got a chance to participate and experience several African traditions. They were served many different types of food and were given the opportunity to learn and practice popular African dances.
“People reacted really well,” said Baleng. “Everyone was really open-minded. People weren’t scared to try what they didn’t know,” she said.
The event was pretty packed. A lot of people had to stand for a majority of the show because so many seats were filled. But that didn’t put a damper on anyone’s night. Everyone still ate, talked and danced the night away. Everybody seemed entertained.
“I loved that everyone got involved,” said Baleng. “The whole purpose of the event was to inform people and help them have a good time doing something they’re not used to,” she said. “We definitely met our goal, I just hope everyone had as good of a time as we did,” she said.
African Night brought many people together to learn and have a good time.